LOS ANGELES (CN) - The San Diego law office Gordon & Holmes and one of its partners claim Courtney Love defamed them after they insisted she "remain clean and sober" while they represented her.
The law office and Rhonda Holmes, as an individual and as a corporation, sued Love in Superior Court, alleging libel, privacy invasion and intentional interference with economic advantage.
Gordon & Holmes say Love retained them in December "to represent her in the pursuit of money and property allegedly stolen from her late husband's estate."
Love was married to rock star Kurt Cobain, who killed himself in 1994. Gordon & Holmes' complaint refers to Love's estate litigation as the "fraud litigation."
In spring 2009, the law office says, "plaintiffs' representation of Love was conditioned up Love refraining from any and all substance abuse for at least the duration of plaintiffs' and Love's attorney-client relationship. There was never any indication Love honored this condition. On information and belief, the imposition of this condition (the requirement Love remain clean and sober throughout the course of Love's and plaintiffs' attorney-client relationship) caused Love to become angry with plaintiffs." (Parentheses in complaint.)
At this time, Love had hired another attorney, Keith Fink, to represent her in an unrelated arbitration, Gordon & Holmes says. They claim that Fink - who is not a party to this complaint - "with the desire to become Love's attorney for Love's fraud litigation ... caused Love to second-guess and question plaintiffs' strategy in their representation of Love in the fraud litigation."
Love fired Gordon & Holmes and refused to communicate with them after May 4, 2009, according to the complaint. But they say that by the autumn of 2009, she became dissatisfied with Fink and asked Gordon & Holmes to represent her again in the fraud litigation. They say they refused due to scheduling problems, and "to the lack of any indication Love would honor the condition to refrain from substance abuse" while they represented her.
The law office says its refusal to represent her caused Love to become "angry and resentful," and she retaliated by publishing "malicious, false, and libelous statements about Holmes, using her "Love's) fame and influence to reach millions of people in attempt to cause irreparable damage to plaintiffs' business, name and reputation".
The complaint cites a "tweet" that was published or republished in June 2010: "'i was fucking devastated (sic) when Rhonda J Holmes Esq was bought off
' [...]- (Emphasis added)". (Brackets, parentheses and ellipsis as in complaint.)
The complaint also cites a print interview that quoted Love as saying: "She goes on to tell of a female attorney who has since stopped taking her calls because 'they got to her' after she mentioned something to Page 6 of the New York Post. 'She's disappeared.'"
The law office and Holmes seek punitive damages. They are represented by Frederic Gordon, of Gordon & Holmes.